DAF Grants Show Donor Differences By Geography

New York City residents might provide the most grant dollars overall but other cities’ citizens give a larger percentage to different charitable sectors, according to an analysis of grants recommended by Fidelity Charitable Giving account holders.

The Boston, Mass.-based donor-advised fund (DAF) released its Geography of Giving study this morning, analyzing how donors in 30 metropolitan cities give to different nonprofits. The report ranked the top 10 metro areas in eight charitable sectors as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): arts and culture, education, environment and animals, health, human services, international affairs, and society benefit. Fidelity Charitable announced it has 200,000 donors nationally who supported more than 142,000 nonprofits in calendar year 2018.

The Geography of Giving ranks the top 30 metropolitan areas by the percentage of local Giving Accounts that recommend grants to nonprofits across each sector. Each metro area has 700 or more Giving Accounts. Human services (56 percent), education (54 percent) and religion (52 percent) are the most popular segments to which donors recommend grants, and the only ones that eclipse 50 percent.

Human services saw the most changes in its ranking, with four new cities joining the top 10 – Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia and San Francisco – likely in response to natural disasters like Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and wildfires in California. Support of education was particularly strong in the Northeast while religious organizations ranked high in the South and Midwest. The West was disproportionately prominent in its support of environment and animals while cities with a more global perspective, such as Washington, D.C., were active in the international affairs sector.

Environment and animals saw the largest increase in any charitable sector among Fidelity donors, with a 24-percent increase in the number of Giving Accounts recommending grants. That was followed closely by a 23-percent increase in grants to health-related charities.

The top metropolitan regions by percentage given in each charitable subsector varied, with Boston taking the top spot in two categories:

  • Arts and culture: Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, Ore.
  • Education: Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
  • Environment and animals, Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.
  • Health: Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.
  • Human Services: Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio
  • International affairs: Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.
  • Religion: St. Louis, Mo.
  • Society benefit: Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.

The top regions ranked by total grant dollars from the region, followed by percentage of grant dollars recommended to local charities, included:

  • New York City, $780.5 million (58 percent)
  • Boston, $606.7 million (56 percent)
  • San Francisco, $511.5 million (21 percent)
  • Chicago, $343 million (53 percent)
  • Washington, D.C., $176.6 million (52 percent)
  • Connecticut, $169.1 million (26 percent)
  • Los Angeles, $149.2 million (49 percent)
  • Dallas, $99.9 million (61 percent)
  • Seattle, $94.9 million (46 percent)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, $79.5 million (46 percent)
  • Miami, $67.7 million (26 percent)
  • Atlanta, $58.5 million (57 percent)
  • Denver, $35.4 million (32 percent)
  • Cleveland, $21.4 million (53 percent)

To access the full Geography in Giving report, click here.